4.06.2014

The Sony A7s. Writing about this because it's interesting. Not because I want one. Yet...

Sony announced a new A7 model at the NationalAssociation of Broadcaster's show today in Las Vegas. The camera is called the Sony A7S and it will be a very interesting product for people who: a. Shoot with the Sony Nex FE system. b. Think they might want to shoot nice video. and, c. People who think they might like to shoot under very, very, very low light conditions. After a very thorough inspection of the specs it seems obvious that Sony has still (like the A7r) found very interesting ways to take out their corporate handgun and shoot again and again at their own feet.

What is interesting about this camera? Well, for starters it contains a brand new, full frame sensor that  allegedly does what many have been calling for years---it promises bigger, lustier pixel wells for much better (lower noise) high ISO performance. Instead of 24 or 36 megapixels you can step up to 12 megapixels spread across a 24 by 36 mm sensor. The advertised high end of the ISO range is in line with the newly announced Nikon D4s at over 400,000. Yikes!

If you keep up with video production you probably have heard that a big issue with using traditional DSLRs like the Canon 5D3 and the Nikon D4s or D800 is having to get all of the information off the huge sensors and condense it down quickly into the much, much smaller video files. The cameras do this by binning and by using a line skipping scheme. The issue has always been the image processing pipeline which is optimized for the creation of huge image files with HD video as an afterthought. The problem with the current downsampling schemes is that the files generated don't have the detail they could and are no match for camera with smaller output sensors which are also optimized to be able to dump their entire frame of information without the processing to downsample.

In Canon's professional video line cameras like the C100, C300 and C500 use sensors that have limited the megapixel count to nearly the exact count of 4K HD. These cameras can write frames to memory without too much processing and with no downsampling which allows them to have faster frame rates and to do away with the image degradation of line skipping. Sony is following in their footsteps but for the first time introducing this strategy in a consumer camera. A camera that is affordable to many who want to stick a toe into 4K video with a relatively good assurance of high quality.

One of the benefits of the bigger pixel wells is something more important than high ISO performance, it's a much wider dynamic range. Rumor has it that this sensor will compete with some of Sony's professional cameras when it comes to dynamic range meaning that the camera will have up to 13.5 stops of usable range. The gap between consumer Sony and consumer Canon just got wider....

I was amazed to find that the camera will also come with film maker profiles and the ability to use S-Log curves that also protect highlight detail. In essence, aside from the lower resolution, this will be a noon time, bright sun, desert, swim pool in summer champion. Sounds good so far, right? So why would I say that Sony has their good ole Colt .45 loaded and aimed once again at their own big toe?
And what does this new competitor mean to all of us who've been waiting with bated breath for the Panasonic 4K camera? Will we now drop those Panny plans and rush back to the Sony camp?

Well, let's get logical and read into the specs with reckless abandon.

First off, the big one: Technically you can't use the stock camera to shoot 4K to the memory card in the Sony A7s camera. Wait, I don't get it. This is being touted as Sony's consumer foray into DSLR 4K video but the camera won't record 4K video? Nope. Yep. The camera will record 2K video in a 4:2:2 configuration which means wonderful 1080p files but to actually record 4K you'll need an outboard digital video recorder to make that work. You can pretty much plan on adding at least a thousand dollars and a lot more complexity (and weak, flex points) in production to get 4K from the camera. Hey, be careful because you'll have some wires sticking out and you'll need to attach that new digital recorder somewhere.... So, technically, yes the camera will record 4K video, just not to the internal card or any other inexpensive modality. Yikes! That's big news. The Panasonic has 4K directly to the memory card figured out and ready to go in its GH4.

But once you get that digital video recorder you're pretty much ready to go and put the GH4 to shame, right?  Bigger sensor and all that. Right?

Well, no. Sony has chosen to further cripple their camera with their new consumer codec XAVC S which is actually a smaller frame (consumer 4K) versus the Panasonic's more professional and full frame codecs. The max camera to card output for the Sony is about 50 mps which is less than half the information being lovingly placed onto the internal memory card in the Panasonic.

Yes, the Sony will offer less depth of field than the GH4 but on most other technical video standards the equally priced Panasonic walks all over the Sony.  Both cameras require outboard units for stuff like XLR microphone inputs but where the Panasonic unit also offers SDI output the Sony unit, at this junction is microphones only.

Then we get into issues of handling...both still and video. Sony is using the same NP-50 battery that we first met in the Nex-7. It's a decent trade off of size, weight and endurance for a small, mostly still-intended camera but it's a whole different compromise for a camera that's being aggressively pushed as a nearly "pro grade" video production tool. According to Sony specs the battery will give one a blustery 90 minutes of total run time. Now, I don't know if you've been on many shoots lately but that about enough power for set up, test and few dress rehearsals and maybe one or two takes. Better take along six of the batteries for a full shooting day.

The GH4 gives up about 3.5 hours of run time for a big, fat battery. I feel compfy with two batteries and a little charger (as a safety precaution) for a day of shooting.

The interesting thing to me will be the focusing. The A7 was one of the slowest to focus mirror-less system cameras I ever used (but in full disclosure I haven't retested since they did the big firmware update) while the Panasonic GH3 is one of the fastest mirror-free systems I have ever used.

I guess in the end the proof of the pudding is in the tasting. If you need full frame DOF you might be swayed in the direction of the Sony, and for the price you'll probably get better video performance than any of the other DSLR style cameras out there in the price range (or above it). You will get a nice EVF, a good LCD, and lots of software tools that might make the camera a wonderful imaging tool.  Be advised that there's you'll loose fast frame rates on the Sony when you go to 4K....

On the other hand I think the GH4 product is much better thought out and a real "user" for people who like to work with small, efficient crews. And people who want fast fps. And more battery life.

Good points for the Sony (based on a close read of their specs): 

1. A system approach to still and video imaging in the same form factor as their high res cameras.

2. A better codec then their previously pervasive ACVHD offerings (still on the camera and still 28 mps...).

3. A great viewfinder.

4. Nice body style and low weight, good handling.

5. Lots of video software tools like S-Log curves and cinematic profiles.

6. I presume they will include the really good focus peaking they've had in previous cameras.

7. The ability to use a wide range of lenses from many lens makers

8. *****The big one will be the quality of the sensor (I think it will be fantastic) and all the accompanying benefits: Dynamic Range, Color Accuracy, High ISO/Low Noise Performance.

We've already discussed the drawbacks above. To condense, be sure to get your out board digital video recorder and a pocket full of batteries.

All in all it's good to see Sony come into the market.

FYI, for all of you who think it will take a long time for 4K to flow into the consumer market please be aware that Sony is shoving something like 24 new consumer 4K TVs into the markets this Fall and Samsung, Panasonic and Toshiba are right there with them. When prices fall after the holiday season, and they will, I think you'll see affluent consumers all over the place upgrading at not much higher a price than they paid for a 2K LED screen only a year or so ago. The adaptation will be much more rapid than the original move to flat panel HDs. And the computer market, led by Dell's $600 24 inch 4K monitor is already heating up. It's a brave new world. Thanks a lot, Aldous Huxley.


edit note 4/7/2014: While I may not be an expert in video I believe that Michael Reichmann over at Luminous Landscape would qualify. Here's a very informative discussion thread on one of his forums about the intro of the A7S and a casual comparison to the Panasonic product. Please read it before pronouncing me "dumb as a stump." : http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=88774.0

edit note 4/7/2014 evening in Austin: Here is a very even handed comparison between the Sony and the Panasonic by Andrew Reid at EOSHD. Well worth reading: http://www.eoshd.com/content/12562/panasonic-gh4-vs-sony-a7s-compared-wins-4k-battle-paper

23 comments:

Frank Grygier said...

One of the best articles on the this camera I have read so far. I find this Sony very intriguing as well. I think it will be interesting times for film makers. The lines are blurring between the $6K to $10K cameras and the $1k to 2K cameras. What's next???

Mr said...

this just makes me want an rx1s!

Anonymous said...

Now you're beginning to sound like either a fanboy or one of those gadget nerds who measurebate on the spec sheets and whine about everything, as nothing is ever good enough. ;-)
j/k
No doubt this new release, along with the GH4, will indeed keep the real gadget nerds busy for weeks. No time or need to do any actual shooting IRL.

Seriously though, I think it's way too early to draw any conclusions but, to me the A7s still sounds like an interesting choice, and if the rumours about the price turn out to be true, it'll be the more compelling option of those two 4K consumer gadgets. Not that there's anything particularly wrong with the GH4, either.

Besides, to get the best results out of the GH4, you'll need to start 'rigging' it, too, and to attach an external 4K recorder, eventually. Which means either a big $2k Panasonic brick or a $2k Atomos Shogun. Which, unlike the Brick, is also a great field monitor. It'll make focusing and monitoring the footage much easier, especially when using a tripod, a slider, a dolly etc. Albeit with the caveat of added bulkiness, but that'll be the case with the Brick, too.

Sure, the Brick has extra connectivity built in instead, but the point is, when going deeper into video production you'll end up coughing out much more dough than just the price of the body and a lens in either case. The specs on 'paper' won't tell the whole truth, so the lack of internal 4K recording may turn out to be more or less a moot point, eventually. At least to some users.

With the GH4 you'll probably want/need a pricey Metabones Speed Booster, too. The A7s won't need one, but you'll have the option to use almost any full frame lens in real full frame.

Then there's the difference between a sensitive full frame vs. four thirds sensor in stills shooting, although with suitable lenses the GH4 apparently does pretty nice stills, too. With smaller lenses.

So with all the pixel peeping and measurebating put aside, from these two, I'd probably go for the A7s at some point, provided that the price will be around the rumoured range, and no doubt you and your mFT minions will go for the GH4. Neither option is bad or wrong. Soon there will be other options, too.

What may be more significant than the hyped headline features for the time being is that 4K means superb 1080p, too, if/when you downscale the 4K into 1080p. Both options will probably do pretty nice 1080p straight off the camera, too. Good ol' full HD isn't quite dead yet.

What I'm more concerned now is what 4K and these compelling new gadgets do to my computing budget. I may soon need a mightier mojo box, as my good ol' Mac and the ageing monitor may not handle 4K that well.

Meanwhile, editing native 1080p 422 ProRes with it is still a doddle. So I'm still fine, for now.

he said, with a poorly faked confidence in his voice, while trying hard not to catch the 4K GAS... ;-)

Mike Tesh said...

"Well, no. Sony has chosen to further cripple their camera with their new consumer codec XAVC S which is actually a smaller frame (consumer 4K) versus the Panasonic's more professional and full frame codecs. The max camera to card output for the Sony is about 50 mps which is less than half the information being lovingly placed onto the internal memory card in the Panasonic."

True to an extent. We can only compare HD written to the card here since the a7s can't record 4K internally. So in that case, the GH4 can record up to 200Mbps internally whereas the a7s can only do 50Mbps internally. The 100Mbps internal recording for the GH4 is for 4K shooting. But bitrate isn't everything, it's how it's implemented that matters.

The bigger issue is the output bit depth. The GH4 can do 10bit output for both HD and 4K via HDMI. The a7s is only 8bit for HD and 4K. But again, the Canon C series is 8 bit and holds up pretty well because the image coming off the sensor is great to begin with.

Another issue you didn't bring up is that the GH4 can record to the 4K DCI spec (1.85:1) or the 4K UHD (16;9) spec. Whereas the a7s can only do the latter UHD spec. Unless that's what you meant by consumer 4K and professional full frame codec.

Personally this is a hard choice for me (depending on the cost of the a7s. As someone who shoots both video and stills (in that order) it would be wonderful to have one camera that does both well. Full frame would be awesome for stills, especially with cheap adapters for vinatage glass without a crop factor. That lowlight ability would be great for video as well, since I am at times in situations where I can't set up lights and I'm locked to a 1/50th or 1/60th shutter depending on my frame rate.

The dynamic range also seems to be killer on that Sony sensor with the slog, from what I can tell so far. But having to pay an extra $2000 for an external 4K recorder (the newly announced Atomos, the cheapest so far), puts these two cameras nearly worlds apart if you're shooting 4K. I mean if you're shooting a DSLR it means you're already on a budget for the most part. Otherwise I'd have a C100/C300 or Sony FS700 or RED Scarlet or something. But in terms of image quality, it the a7s ends up looking like Alexa footage and the GH4 like home video, than $2000 extra is a small price to pay for big league image quality. Like the difference between drinking a beer at twice the price of a root beer. if you're just trying to wet the whistle, either will do. But if you're trying to get drunk, which is the better choice?

But we don't know this yet. Personally I'd love the ability to crop in for interviews when shooting 4K and mastering to HD. But I'm not used to having that option right now so it would only be a bonus. I don't need 4K for 4K sake. What I need is a better HD image which a native 4K sensor can provide. The big question for me is, will you get a better 4K image off the Sony with slog shooting HD internally with it's own internal downsampling, or off the GH4 shooting 4K internally and then downsampling in post to ProRes 422 HQ HD? Because external recorders aside (which I will probably never buy) that's where both these cameras really start to compete if they are around the same price.

Matt said...

Hey Kirk, I like your blog a lot, but a couple points about this post:

1. You say that once you have the recorder then the camera can 'only' do 50Mbps, this is incorrect, it can do whatever the recorder is capable of achieving, like the Atomos recording 4K Pro Res.

2. You talk about Sony not doing full 4K but then talk about people buying up 4K TVs, the Sony shoots the same format as the TVs, a small point but shooting for the format it will be displayed on is always preferable.

3. The GH4 can't do higher frame rates in 4K either.

4. The adapter for XLR inputs is significantly cheaper than the one for the GH4, it has less connectivity but price is still a factor, not everyone needs HD-SDI output, especially when a 'pro' of the GH4 is that it records 4K internally, that means a LOT of change just to add XLR inputs.

5. Sony is developing a new XLR adapter, no real details on it yet.

6. The GH4 is clunky as all get out with the YAGH adapter. No less so than the Sony with external recorder and XLR adapter. The YAGH unit is also really quite expensive. Adding the A7S + Recorder + XLR adapter is not far at all from the GH4 + YAGH adapter price wise, but the Sony does far higher bitrates, has over 4x the sensor area, well over (1.1x crop vs 2.3x crop), higher sensitivity and S-Log etc.

7. AF (for stills I presume?) should also be markedly improved by faster full sensor readout and low light sensitivity (though this is yet to be seen).

They are both very compelling cameras.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Kirk about Sony and the new A7s.

some this bashing, even in jest, is uncalled for.

As he stated, he is basing this on the posted specs, so everything is spec-ulative until Adrew Reid and others post actual hands on reports.

The GH4 and YAGH are made to connect, just like a camera hand grip. Much more secure connections between the two. while current add on recorders for the Sony will have to deal with possibly flimsy connections. In this Kirk is probably right. an external recorder and full 4K is worthless if the connections are unreliable.

And the GH4, YAGH, and power will probably be a smaller package then the A7s, enternal recorder, and power.

I agree Sony definity has a history of delivering some very, very compelling tech and shooting themselves at the same time.

At this point in time, the GH4 looks like a much better, flexibale, and mature system.

Joseph Ferrari said...

I've got the GH4 pre-ordered and the Sony A7S has not compelled me to cancel. I think that conceptually, the A7S is sound, but that they hurried this product to market.

Excellent read, thanks.

Kirk Tuck said...

Since I sounded like a Panasonic "fan boy" I can also give you a "Kirk loves Sony" perspective as well. Not of the A7s, which I have not had the pleasure or displeasure to use, but of the RX10 which, even with its crappy codec is a very, very good camera and churns out great video files for a total price of $1300 with exotic, wonderful lens. I think the point I missed and that a lot of people are missing is that the basic technology is arriving that allows everyone to do good work. I'm sure Sony will issue an update to the RX10 next year that will incorporate 4K. Then all bets are off.

Robert Roaldi said...

I understand why the commercial movie industry wants 4K, but you state that Sony is about to start selling 4K consumer cams. I may be out of touch, actually I am sure I am, but I don't get that at all. I have 2 HD camcorders whose files are already too big and my TV not big enough for it to matter. And most people I know watch vids on laptops and tablets anyway. When I rent movies on iTunes, I save a buck by clicking on SD because I can't tell it apart from HD on my TV.

I'm so sick of this upgrade sh*t.

Anonymous said...

I can just see it now.

Kirk does a really good video project, delivers a great 2K video to the customer and then gets a complaint from customer:

why do I get these really large black borders around the video? Didn't I pay for a full size video!!! and when I stretch the video to fit the screen it look terrible!!!

With 4K displays coming out and the technical level of some people I have helped, this may not be to far fetched.

Michael R

Matt said...

I would also like to point out that Sony is in no way following Canon's example. Believe it or not Sony not a bit more (a LOT more) than Canon about movie cameras. They have been doing output matched resolution sensors in video cameras like the Cinealta for ages and brought it to the prosumer space long before Canon with the 3MP sensor in the FS100 and 8MP in the FS700. Both those cameras have amazing output due to their limited resolution and scaling, something Canon have been copying due to their total lack of expertise in cinema cameras (they basically accidentally stumbled into the market with the 5D).

Gato said...

Interesting comments on an interesting move by Sony.

Maybe I'm lucky to be a bit behind the curve here. For me 4K is a year or 18 months in the future, if ever. For now I'll be working on my shooting and editing skills, so by the time I'm ready for 4K most of this will be sorted out. Most likely I'll be looking at a newer generation of cameras and recorders - at a lower price point.

Thanks, Kirk, for a good overview that even a relative beginner thinks he understood. (Thanks also to those who have commented so far.) I could have spent hours slogging through much more tedious stuff and come away knowing less.

Anonymous said...

"Since I sounded like a Panasonic "fan boy" I can also give you a "Kirk loves Sony" perspective as well."

Well, in your blog post above, one of your main talking points against the A7s, as opposed to the GH4, was "no 4K into the SD card." Well, just think about the physics for a while. The A7s is actually smaller than the GH4, but it is housing a sensor over twice as big as the one inside the physically bulkier GH4.

In other words, it has over twice the surface creating twice the heat, along with the processor next to it, but less volume to dissipate it. Surely the alleged heat issue is a real issue with the A7s.

And, as mentioned already, filmmakers are likely to rig both of them with external recorders, anyway, at some point. We have not much IRL experience yet, but I bet the 4K (and 1080p) footage recorded into an Atomos Shogun will look awesome, be it 8 bit or 10 bit.

BTW, the internal 4K of the GH4 is not perfect even on paper, either. But it still looks good, so who cares. Same with the A7s.

I just wish the price tag will be closer to $2k (or under) than $2,500, as suggested by another rumour.

Corwin Black said...

Pretty much its going to be very good camera for super hi ISO/DR junkies (if they didnt manage to shoot that one into leg too). And it can record good video.. sometimes, for short time.

But, since I like stills more, then is only one aspect left for me. Colors. Will see.

Brad Calkins said...

Fun stuff, but I don't see myself buying a new TV any time soon to get more resolution. I really struggle to see why consumers have any interest in 4K at home.

Kirk Tuck said...

Hi Brad, I'd conjecture that most people buy big TVs to watch football, basketball, baseball and whatever other sports people watch. Usually one guy in group buys the new tech in order to cement his alpha position in the group and the rest follow along so as not to lose their places in the hierarchy.

Curious... did you trade up from a CRT to a flat panel HD?

Matt said...

I think you forgot to add Kirk when comparing the two interface units that while the Sony only offers XLR inputs and the Panasonic offers a fair bit more, the Panasonic requires external power from large 12V battery packs via 4 pin XLR connection - Hardly an elegant solution there, especial if all you want to use it for is XLR inputs, it becomes expensive, large and even larger and more expensive with the big bulky batteries used to drive the thing. If top quality 1080p and XLRs is all one needs, the Sony will actually be the more elegant (and likely cheaper) solution.

Kirk Tuck said...

Hi Matt, I didn't really forget but I use a Beachtek box that impedance matches two XLR inputs to the 3.5mm connector into the GH3 and have found the set up to deliver perfectly good audio every time. The total cost was $165. And it elegantly fits on the bottom of the camera....

Also, have had good luck doing audio with a Zoom H4n and running audio out into the camera for scratch and back up sound. I think the Panasonic GH4 box provides more stuff than just XLRs including conversions, pre-amps for audio and complete SDI support which is unavailable on the Sony.

We each choose how cumbersome we want our rigs to be and make our own compromises...

Matt said...

And that is fair enough Kirk, we have all had to make compromises around using external devices with stills oriented cameras to 'convert' them into a video rig. I have been using Beechtek's for years (though while converting a balanced line do not offer any actual gain beyond what the 3.5 jack offers and no phantom power) and yes external audio recorders have definitely been a norm for a long time as well (but require syncing in post), point is that neither solution is particularly flawless and while it is easy to pan the A7S for not doing internal 4K the audio solution Sony offers is more elegant, while the need for an external video recorder is less elegant, but that isn't how the article reads (which is my bigger point).

As for external recording, while the Atomos is probably the only solution for now, how long do you think it will be for Blackmagic design to update their inexpensive Hyper deck shuttle to offer 4K recording, at say $500? They already offer battery powered converters for HDMI to SDI as well. Sony's Multi-Interface shoe already offers video throughout, it isn't a stretch to imagine a recorder or MI-SDI/HDMI adapter in the near future either (Sony have already said they are developing a new XLR adapter which potentially could include a full sized HDMI port).

Point is with either unit you will still need large and cumbersome add-ons to get the full gamut of capabilities out of them. Sony more easily and elegantly does on board audio and the Panasonic more elegantly does on board 4K.

Kirk Tuck said...

Hi Matt, you make some good points and I'd like to answer them. Neither of us is right or wrong, it's more a matter of perspective.

As to the less expensive Black Magic Digital Video Recorder, given their track record, by the time it comes out on the market and ready for use Sony will likely have abandoned the FE lens mount and moved on to something newer. :-)

As to how elegant the audio solution is on the Sony I would ask if you have used it. It's an add -on that is totally dependent on the tiny connections in the multi-function hot shoe. So, first of all you give up the hot shoe and you embrace yet another non-standard interface. If the interface goes bad you loose the use of the whole unit. The audio unit draws power from the camera batteries. In the case of the bigger Alpha cameras for which it was originally designed the much larger capacity batteries make this design more workable. Given the small size and low storage capacity of the NP-50 batteries in the A7 series I would hate to give up any current to any outboard add on. You can currently count on about 90 (optimistic) minutes of run time with the current battery powering on the camera. Put on the audio pre-amps and two mics drawing phantom power and you probably cut down the run time a great deal. Not a big deal to old time BetaCam users who used to change batteries every thirty or forty minutes but a deal killer to people used to using a Panasonic GH3 to get something like 3 hours of video....

At some point in a big production you'll be praying for a D-Tap battery solution for the camera. Just my thoughts.

Matt said...

HI Kirk, obviously I agree and disagree about some of your points, which is good because every device has its pros and cons and these and then weighted by the user, there is no one perfect device, not at any price point.

As for the BMD recorder, yeah maybe it will take a while, who knows? But probably, they haven't announced such a thing yet anyway. As far as Sony 'abandoning' FE mount, well for one there isn't such a thing as FE mount, there are however FE lenses. As for 'abandoning' the mount, well lets see, Sony have had two mounts in their history of photography, A-Mount and E-Mount, still both very much in production and the older mount is very well supported by the newer mount. Panasonic have also had two mounts in their shorter time of ILC's, 4/3's and m4/3's... One os completely discontinued while the other is relatively new. Panasonic have very poor support comparatively to Sony for their older mount on their newer mount. So if history serves, Panasonic are the more likely of the two companies to abandon their mount. I know it is 'easy' to pick on Sony to the point it is practically a meme, but in light of actual facts Panasonic don't look so rosy. Not saying they will dump the current mount though obviously.

The connection for the XLR adapter is far more secure than a little 3.5mm jack, any day. However the Sony does still give you that option as well of course if that is your preferred flavour.

As to battery power, yes, you are somewhat correct, the GH4 definitely uses a more robust battery. However, again going back to use the their respective XLR adapters, the Sony a) can run off batteries, the Panasonic cannot b) the Sony can use battery grip with the adapter, the Panasonic cannot. The Panasonic requires 12v power to use the XLR adapter for audio and phantom power, the Sony 'can' use battery and two of them through the grip, but also has the option of external power.

In terms of usage, well we don't actually know what the Sony is going to be like battery life wise, we are gauging off the A7/R but the A7S has a completely different sensor which is likely to be considerably more power efficient then either of those, but we don't really know. You are right though that it is VERY likely the GH4 will have better battery life.

As for phantom power, this consumes very little power, whether it be on a H4n, an AA battery in the mic or through the adapter. Consumption is minimal at best.

Going back to the adapters themselves, yes I definitely agree the Panasonic does a lot more than the Sony and while it adds a bit of extra video connectivity it must be run off 12v power source, considering the adapter doesn't add much in terms of capability, but rather only connectivity this limits it's usefulness quite a bit. Additionally the Panasonic relies on a connection between the body and adapter through the base/top, like battery grips there is likely very little guarantee that the adapter will physically mate with newer bodies as they come out, meaning your adapter (more expensive than the body itself) becomes completely worthless. The Sony's cheaper and much more basic adapter can be used across many devices, including our RX10's, which means I invest once and can use it in a number of scenarios, the Panasonic adapter can at this point be used on one camera and it is likely that the next model won't fit at all.

On the reverse, if we shell out for an external 4K recorder, this will be able to record from a number of different devices now and in the future.

Kirk Tuck said...

Well reasoned Matt. Good points all. Knowing my own habits I'll eventually end up with both.....

Matt said...

I am likely the same Kirk. Though like you I have recently 'downsized' to one system, with the A7 being my main stills camera and RX10 for video GR for pocket take everywhere kind of deal. I very nearly ordered a GH4 (I was looking for a second camera to use alongside A7 when photographing events and thought the video capabilities would make the second system worthwhile (even though I literally just moved out of a two system setup because it was getting frustrating), so when Sony announced the A7S I was pretty darn happy because I can get what I wanted out of the second camera without investment in a second system (and the pitfalls that come with that). So I can understand your leaning towards GH4 as it fits in better with what you have now. Though I quite like using the A7 as a 'mini Alpha' with A-Mounts from my A850, not everyone likes this though.